- Student Life
We (Abby Eskina and Rebecca Hopwood) sat down with Clay Lautt and Coach Medina to discuss Clay’s Wrestling career at St. James Academy. Best of luck to Clay, Coach Medina, and all of the other Wrestlers competing this weekend at State!
A&R: What were your initial thoughts on Clay as he entered high school?
Medina: Clay had done really well in kids clubs so we knew he was a strong, solid wrestler who could be a multiple state placer.
A&R: In what area do you think Clay has improved the most?
Medina: His offensive technique. Freshman year he basically had one offensive move. Over the years he’s developed. He’s a very coachable wrestler which worked in his favor to improve his technique.
A&R: What was is like to watch Clay be a two time state champion?
Medina: It was something we expected. It’s a tough thing to do, but Clay put in the extra work in the off season. Sophomore year he was very confident and we knew the ending results would be a state title. Junior year there was a kid in his weight class that he had lost to so we weren’t really sure what was going to happen, but he went in determined and got the outcome he had worked for all season.
A&R: In what ways have you grown closer to Clay over the past couple years?
Medina: I’ve known Clay since he was very young. He could have gone to other schools, but chose SJA. Him and his family have put a lot of trust in me throughout the years so that I can get him to the next level. I am close with all my wrestlers; we are a tight knit group.
A&R: Can you tell us about some of Clay’s accomplishments and talk about his overseas experience?
Medina: The biggest thing with all he has accomplished is the work he has put in. He’s never ran from competition; instead he always steps up and faces the challenge. I believe losing is learning for everyone. You have to compete against the best to be the best and that is what Clay has done in the off-season while traveling to the Olympic training center to compete along with attending National competitions.
A&R: Growing up, how did you first get started with wrestling?
Clay: I started at the age of five. My dad made me join wrestling because he thought it would make me better at football. I actually wrestled Sammy Coakley in my first match of state tournament when we were 5.
A&R: What has been your favorite part of SJA wrestling program?
Clay: Winning the team state title freshman year, because having so many good role models my first year really pushed me to be a better wrestler.
A&R: Going into highschool did you know you wanted to continue wrestling after you graduated?
Clay: Yes, that was my goal since 8th grade, but I didn’t know if it would actually happen.
A&R: Did you ever think you’d be at this point in your career?
Clay: No, I didn’t see it coming. Freshman year I would have never seen myself where I am at today.
A&R: What was it like going overseas?
Clay: I attended the United World Wrestling USA Cadet World Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia this past year. It was a unique experience, getting to see a different part of the world. It was overwhelming and stressful being surrounded by so much competition. Training with Olympians and older team members was a different and exciting way to improve my techniques.
A&R: What is one thing you gained from that experience?
Clay: I gained confidence in myself and in how good I could really end up being.
A&R: Why did you choose UNC?
Clay: I always knew I wanted to be kind of close to home, but there are no D1 wrestling schools in Kansas and my dad has a house in North Carolina. It is also a top 10 public University in academics. I’m more excited than nervous for the future!
A&R: How has the SJA wrestling program played a role in your overall wrestling experience?
Clay: It has given me a lot of my closest friends. We spend so much time together whether it’s practicing, competing, or traveling. My coaches have also helped me improve a lot since my freshman year. I think Medina is the best high school coach in Kansas, he has helped me a lot.